There are many advantages to taking an on-line video conference group Thai language course with Kru Pear through “Learn Thai With Mod.”
- The format: if you have a tight schedule, you do not have to budget extra time to travel to and from class through traffic and try to find a parking space. You just open your computer or tablet when it’s time for class wherever you are. The videoconference platform allows you more time to practice speaking during class; you set your microphone to mute when it’s not your turn to talk, and as Kru Pear asks other students questions and they answer, you can repeat what she is saying and answer on your own out loud without interfering. Another advantage is you can pin the instructor’s face to the full screen, and leave yours next to it in the small screen, so you get a clear visual of how her mouth is forming the sounds. With your picture right next to it, you can see if you are imitating correctly. When you set the screen to the gallery view, you can see the whole class at once, unlike in a classroom with rows where you mostly see the back of other people’s heads. If you have a technology problem with the platform during the class, there are always students in the class who have a good tech background and can help you to solve it. If you have to miss a class because you have to work, you can record it to listen to later.
- The price: the modules are two hours, twice a week for five weeks. It’s more affordable than tutoring, and quite a bit less than a standard university language class at a public college in the US that meets for the same number of hours for 10 weeks. Also, you pay in 5 week segments, not upfront for 10 weeks. Plus, you won’t find Thai offered at most universities.
- The students: Many have Thai-speaking friends or family and are motivated to learn the language. They are focused and attend consistently. Since the course is international, some students already speak tonal languages. It’s helpful to hear students who speak the tones correctly from the start. Also, in a group setting, other students think of good questions I might not have thought to ask.
- The instruction: Most of the students, including myself, have tried to learn Thai on their own, either in the country, using on-line videos and/ or other reference materials. However, as I am not first-speaker of a tonal language, I find it essential to have the assistance of a live person to learn the correct tones. Also, since Thai has about double the number of vowels that English has, it’s tricky to try learn those on your own. This course can speed that up. Likewise, many reference materials Romanize Thai using scholarly linguistic symbols, which is like learning a whole other language. Kru Mod and Kru Pear simplify learning Thai by Romanizing in a way that is logical to the English-speaker or anyone who has studied English. The introductory course does not overwhelm students by attempting to teach reading and writing in the short time frame. Although the beginning course I took was the debut group class, it was clearly the result of many years of experience. The five-week lesson plan is well-thought out in terms of introducing the basic structures students need to start speaking. Students aren’t asked to memorize long lists of vocabulary with little context. The instructor is aware of the obstacles students coming from non-tonal languages will encounter as well as what sounds exist in Thai that are distinct from other language groups. The instructor’s understanding of English grammar provides a framework to demonstrate how the structure of Thai is similar or different and is a useful reference point even for students who are not first-speakers of English, but have previously studied English. I am looking forward to continuing studying Thai in this format, and I’m interested to see how they will introduce reading and writing of the beautiful Thai letters.
Learn Thai with Mod